Nibali fails to crack Sky but pleased with Tour mountains performance

Vincenzo Nibali, Tour de France 2012

Vincenzo Nibali attempted to break Sky's stronghold and blow the Tour de France apart today on stage 11. He failed in cracking Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome, but saw Cadel Evans crack and the Italian moved up to third overall.

"I was going well, so I waited until the last climb to try to attack," Nibali said after the finish. "There were many team-mates with Wiggins, so I tried to wear them down right away."

Evans, the defending champion and BMC Racing's leader, attempted a long move on the Col de la Croix de Fer. He failed and paid for it when team Liquigas-Cannondale's Nibali began his attacks on the La Toussuire climb to the finish line.

Nibali attacked twice in the 18km Alpine climb, first with 10.7km remaining and again with 9.2km remaining. Sky pulled him back, but had to rely on Chris Froome as Richie Porte faded. Nibali went again. This time, Evans suffered under the effort of Sky's chase and lost ground.

"Vincenzo showed he's getting stronger with the race," Wiggins said in the leader's press conference. "His attacks at the end were pretty severe."

"Two times, one when I saw them returning. I wanted to prevent it and just try to just take advantage of the work, but it was very difficult," Nibali explained. "Chris Froome, like always, showed to be a great domestique. He did most of the work"

He joined with earlier attackers, Jurgen Van den Broeck (Lotto-Belisol), Janez Brajkovic (Astana) and Thibaut Pinot (FDJ-BigMat). It forced Wiggins and Froome to lift the pace further. They caught the Italian from Sicily with just less than four kilometres remaining, when the climb eased.

Evans trailed in at around 1 minute, 30 seconds. Nibali failed to crack Sky, but pushed himself into third overall. He trails Froome by only 18 seconds and leads Evans by 56 seconds.

"There were a lot of hard blows today. We were all tired, it was normal," Nibali continued. He was pleased with his time, but not so much. "Yeah, it's important, but Sky's still there and keeps showing to be a great team."

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Tour de France 2012: Teams, riders, start list

Tour 2012: Who will win?

Tour de France 2012 provisional start list

Tour de France 2012 team list

Tour de France 2012: Stage reports

Stage 10: Voeckler wins and saves his Tour

Stage nine: Wiggins destroys opposition in Besancon TT

Stage eight: Pinot solos to Tour win as Wiggins fights off attacks

Stage seven: Wiggins takes yellow as Froome wins stage

Stage six: Sagan wins third Tour stage

Stage five: Greipel wins again as Cavendish fades

Stage four: Greipel wins stage after Cavendish crashes

Stage three: Sagan runs away with it in Boulogne

Stage two: Cavendish takes 21st Tour stage victory

Stage one: Sagan wins at first attempt

Prologue: Cancellara wins, Wiggins second

Tour de France 2012: Comment, analysis, blogs

Analysis: What we learned at La Planche des Belles Filles

Analysis: How much time could Wiggins gain in Tour's time trials

CW's Tour de France podcasts

Blog: Tour presentation - chasing dreams and autographs

Comment: Cavendish the climber

Tour de France 2012: Photo galleries

Stage 10 by Graham Watson

Stage nine by Graham Watson

Stage eight by Graham Watson

Stage seven by Graham Watson

Stage six by Graham Watson

Stage five by Graham Watson

Stage four by Graham Watson

Stage three by Graham Watson

Stage two by Andy Jones

Stage two by Graham Watson

Stage one by Graham Watson

Prologue photo gallery by Andy Jones

Prologue photo gallery by Roo Rowler

Prologue photo gallery by Graham Watson

Tour de France 2012: Team presentation

Sky and Rabobank Tour de France recce

Tour de France 2012: Live text coverage

Stage 10 live coverage

Stage nine live coverage

Stage six live coverage

Stage five live coverage

Stage four live coverage

Stage three live coverage

Cycling Weekly's live text coverage schedule

Tour de France 2012: TV schedule

ITV4 live schedule

British Eurosport live schedule

Tour de France 2012: Related links

Brits in the Tours: From Robinson to Cavendish

Brief history of the Tour de France

Tour de France 2011: Cycling Weekly's coverage index

1989: The Greatest Tour de France ever


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